Black Panther. The ever anticipated superhero movie that every Marvel fan has been looking forward to. I am not one of those Marvel fans but I enjoy taking in what the franchise has to offer. It’s safe to say that my opinions have been very strong in the past with superhero movies. “They’re all the same!” and “When am I going to see something different?!” is my classic response, but as ever, I go in with an open mind, hoping and praying to see something different.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa also know as the Black Panther. After the death of his father, the throne needs a new leader which falls to T’Challa and the people need someone to believe in. A death, however, comes with its complications. His fathers past comes to haunt him as Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) comes for vengeance and to take over the throne of Wakanda. With vibranium being hidden from the outside world, Eric wants to spread the word about the most technologically advanced country. However, T’Challa wants to keep his country safe but with the throne under threat, who do the people of Wakanda decide to go with?
Understandably, Ryan Coogler deserves all the praise he can get for his achievements within this movie. Before this, Creed and Fruitvale Station were his claims to fame in the directing circle. Black Panther is big step up for the director and he sure did take on the beast that Marvel came to him with.
Positive No.1: All-black cast. Apart from Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and a few extras here and there, the film had an all-black cast and I’m sure Coogler got the top dogs he wanted. Chadwick Boseman didn’t have anything going for him before Black Panther but showed his true quality of acting when it came to being suited up. Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi), Forrest Whittaker (Zuri), Letitia Wright (Shuri), the list goes on, they all supported Boseman with class and made the character prevail further, making him the superhero he is.
Positive No.2: Coogler’s research and directional highlights. Coogler clearly has done his research when it came to making probably one of the biggest superhero movies to date. Fight scenes within these type of movies are generally poor and filled with explosions. That wasn’t necessarily the case. One scene particularly stands out where T’Challa holds M’Baku in a leg and arm chokehold (correct me if I’m wrong on that) but it was clear to me from then on that there were lessons being taught there. The actors clearly had to learn how to fight and that is something most superhero films take out. He’s also been watching previous superhero movies with the likes of Ant-Man, James Bond and Thor inspiring some of the scenes from my knowledge which further accentuates that he has taken what was good about those films and put them within this. One of the main reasonings into why I think this film is more successful than most.
Positive No.3: Andy Motherf-ing Serkis. If one character, other than Boseman, made this film more successful, it has to be Andy Serkis. Someone who is used to being choked up in a green morph suit now has the freedom to move about in Black Panther. He shows his true strengths within acting, executing his punch-lines with ease and easily being one of my favourite villains within the Marvel franchise.
See, I can find positives in something I don’t usually like, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have negatives to say about the film. Without going into too much detail, the story is weak, predictable and the same standard arch that you get with every other superhero film. Personally, I did not see anything different, so I still have those same opinions I had before entering this movie. Humour is an issue. I loved that it did not have any humour at all for the most part but with a line such as “WHAT ARE THOSE?!” kind of lowers the film in quality just slightly. Special effects could be improved. With a film like this, I don’t really want to be saying throughout “well, that’s clearly green screened” and I did say it a few times to myself. This may just be me being picky but it’s my opinion at the end of the day!
Looking at other reviews, the 97% on Rotten Tomatoes is, in my opinion, overrated. It’s a solid 7/10 for sure. The reason I think it is that highly rated is due to the current political climate we are in, I am sharing my opinion on a film basis, not my political views, which is what I think the high ratings are for. Anyways, without getting deep, great film. A definite improvement on the franchise as a whole. Ryan Coogler, you are the man.